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Default Sunless Skies - Delayed

February 8th, 2018, 06:38
PC Gamer reports that Failbetter Games has some financial problems:

Failbetter Games lays off employees, Sunless Skies delayed

The studio said the game will ship, but it's taking a more cautious approach to the future.

2017 was a "mixed bag" for Sunless Sea developer Failbetter Games, and it's resulted in some unfortunate changes at the studio and on its next project, Sunless Skies, which has sold far fewer copies than Sunless Sea and isn't going to make its scheduled May release.

Sunless Skies was a huge success on Kickstarter, breaking its £100,000 goal in just four hours and finishing with nearly four times that amount. The Early Access release has been a very different matter, however, as sales have only achieved about 15 percent of what Sunless Sea achieved over the same period of time. The studio cited a number of reasons for the slippage, including a premature rollout, changes to the marketplace, and the wild success of the Kickstarter, which led to fewer Early Access purchases and thus lower visibility on the storefront.

Despite that rough start, development of Sunless Skies continues to move ahead, "and there's no danger of us failing to deliver the project you backed," communications director Hannah Flynn wrote in a blog post. "But the business has a lot less cash in the bank than we wanted to have at this point."

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February 8th, 2018, 06:38
Well that's a downer. Hopefully they can get it finished.
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February 8th, 2018, 07:03
They should have asked for more during the Kickstarter. Its no good relying on early access sales for a narrative heavy game.
Last edited by Silver; February 10th, 2018 at 21:30. Reason: grammatical correctness
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February 8th, 2018, 07:19
So, uh, are they failing better or failing worse?
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February 8th, 2018, 08:12
Hope it works out for them. It sucks when people lose their jobs and the game sounds interesting.
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February 8th, 2018, 13:21
Bit of issue is that this product is somewhat between a 0.75 Sunless Seas version and a 1.5 SS version. It improved points when degrading other points. When they needed to do everything better as both products are so close.
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February 8th, 2018, 19:33
I really tried to get into Sunless Seas, but failed two times. I would still give Sunless Skies a chance. Hope they pull through and see some success!
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February 9th, 2018, 04:01
Regardless of the real motivations behind the layoffs, it's always sad when we see indie studios struggle like that, specially when those studios have such good games.
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February 10th, 2018, 17:51
Originally Posted by Silver View Post
They should of asked for more during the Kickstarter. Its no good relying on early access sales for a narrative heavy game.
"should have"
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February 11th, 2018, 12:46
Originally Posted by Darkheart View Post
I really tried to get into Sunless Seas, but failed two times. I would still give Sunless Skies a chance. Hope they pull through and see some success!
It is an opportunity, people who got into SS are likely to get the feeling that SS2 is not what it was meant to be.
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February 11th, 2018, 17:32
One good piece of news with this is they seem to have spotted it early enough to make adjustments and take action to work on things rather then wait until the ceiling is collapsing around them.

There's also the fact that they might have gone too expanded after Sunless Seas - they had their incubator program, had other devs sometimes working out of their office ( A House of Many Doors came from that - it has some similar themes in lovecraft-lite but isn't a roguelite), were expanding Fallen London, supporting Sunless Seas, and developing Sunless Skies.

Looks like they are closing some of the helping devs out (though I wouldn't be surprised if they let folks work from there some to get support but no monetary help etc), putting Sunless Seas on essentially longterm support with just patches if needed, pulling Fallen London mobile expansion to focus on web and focusing on Skies more.

They probably also are hurt by the fact that Seas long tail is declining - and it's not one that is easy to keep adding to its tail because it is a narrative game.

Meanwhile, while all this is going on, one of their co-founders, Alexis Kennedy, left before Skies KS which has also required them to shift things around there internally. And I wouldn't be surprised if what they said about missing the market changes is true - they were insulated from the toughening market because Seas released in 2014 when Early Access was still kinda novel and picked up a following there that helped it keep attention and avoid those issues from the increased competition as it was known and people recommended it helping its performance in Steam's algorithms and getting attention. That does die down over time though and the market of 2017 is much more tougher to get attention in.

It also doesn't help that the launch version of Sunless Skies was very rough. Which is fine - its early access - but you're competing with games that have a full release or are more refined. Importantly, they didn't have a refined core gameplay loop / story section there to help carry it as something above other Early Access titles.

This has gone a bit longer then I meant but I find it an interesting situation.
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